In the Bay Area and in hospitals in general, there are inherent dangers that emergency personnel and other employees will face. Sharp objects, slips and falls, people who are unaware of their surroundings and might react unpredictably to treatment, the potential for exposure to illnesses and more can cause a work accident or incident and lead to injuries and even death.
According to recent reports, nurses in an emergency department have complained about an unsafe working environment at the hospital. They informed state regulators that there have been violent acts perpetrated against the staff. They say they are lacking in sufficient staffing and the hospital administrators have been negligent. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health was informed of these issues. The nurses say that there has been an absence of training for preventing violence at work and it has not been done for two years. Workers also say they were dissuaded by management from reporting violence in the workplace.
There were specific incidents referenced in the complaint, including one that involved a man bringing a loaded weapon into the hospital. Another was thrown to the ground. The nurses say more than 40 acts of violence were perpetrated against staff since last year. Those who complained stated they were unaware if there were changes to prevent this from recurring. A rally was held by workers, including doctors, nurses and other staff members, to seek improvement in workplace safety. A spokesperson for the hospital says there has been a reduction in the number of violent incidents by around 10% from 2018.
Workers have the right to expect to be safe in the workplace. When there is a safety hazard or other issues that lead to an unsafe working environment, employers should ensure that steps are taken to address the issues. After workers have suffered workplace injuries, it is also important to remember that there are strategies to recover workers’ compensation benefits and other payments to cover for medical costs and lost wages.